Universal Orlando {Volcano Bay Water Theme Park}

With our three day Universal Orlando park-to-park tickets, we opted to spend one of our hot, Memorial Day weekend days at Volcano Bay Water Theme Park!

At this all-new water theme park, thrills and relaxation flow in perfect harmony. Here, the TapuTapu™ wearable lets you hold your place in the ride lines and reveal wondrous surprises with just a wave of your wrist. It’s a tropical paradise just steps away from everything Universal Orlando Resort™ has to offer.

Volcano Bay Water Theme Park

We took a quick bus ride from Portofino Bay Resort and were immediately impressed with the tropical theme.  No detail was left untouched here!  You enter through a tunnel…

… and then take an escalator up to the entrance!

Touring Volcano Bay Water Theme Park

Welcome to Volcano Bay!  Before you enter the park you are given a TapuTapu to wear on your wrist. It’s your key to having an amazing day—you’ll use it to ride most of the attractions, activate interactive surprises, open rental lockers, make cash-free payments and more.

One huge perk of staying on-site was that we got 1 hour early entry before the other guests.  This was key in getting a LOT of the big rides in before the park was crowded.  Being first timers, we didn’t have a good plan.  We just headed towards the giant volcano and landed a few chairs right up front with good umbrella coverage.  I was pleased!

We stored our stuff in a rented locker for the day (well, our phones and wallets at least).  Sadly, I forgot to bring the GoPro this trip so I don’t have any ride photos to share.  Our favorites were KK Hopi (remember that for later and keep reading):

  • Krakatau Aqua Coaster – this is like a much longer aqua duck and so much fun!
  • Ko’okiri Body Plunge – this was absolutely TERRIFYING before doing it; You basically get in a tube, they shut the door on you and the bottom falls out.  But we LOVED it.  HAHA!
  • Honu of the Honu ika Moana
  • Ohno Drop Slide (Ohyah will have a lower wait time, but it drops you only four feet. Ohno drops six feet.)
  • Punga Racers – because we all love a family competition
  • Ika Moana of the Honu ika Moana

Once the park opens and rides start moving from Ride Now to the TapuTapu Virtual line, we continued doing the virtual waits and filling in with the smaller slides.

There is both a lazy river, Kopiko Wai Winding River, and a CRAZY river, TeAwa The Fearless River!  Both were so much fun and a great way to pass the time while you wait in virtual lines.  We had never done a crazy river before and loved the whole concept.

Now, after seeing the waves at Typhoon Lagoon, my kids weren’t raving fans of the Waturi Beach wave pool.  The waves were very calm, but also family friendly.

The food at Volcano Bay was also quite good.  We ate at Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club and all loved our food.  Now, the wait was reallllly long so I recommend eating an early lunch or a late lunch.  We were in line right at noon.  Favorites were the Mango BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich and Hawaiian Ribs.

How To Use TapuTapu

All the rides at Volcano Bay feature a Virtual Line. It’s the new way to wait that leaves you free to float, swim, splash, eat, shop or just relax until it’s your time to ride. Here’s how it works:

  1. Tap in at an attraction with your TapuTapu wearable and you’re in the Virtual Line.
  2. You’re free to explore the park while your TapuTapu counts down the minutes to your return time.
  3. When your TapuTapu vibrates, it’s time to return to your attraction with just a short wait before you ride.

We found TapuTapu to work GREAT and were there on a busy holiday weekend.  We enjoyed the lazy river and crazy river and play areas while we waited.  So, it didn’t feel much like waiting at all!  After returning to the attraction, our waits averaged about 15 minutes.

Volcano Bay Overall Thoughts

I mentioned earlier that every detail was thought of in building this park, and I mean that!  It is beautifully landscaped, it has fun modern touches like interactive experiences with your TapuTapu, all of the walkways are sprayed with water to keep your feet cool and there is not a single ride where you have to lug a giant tube up 47 flights of stairs – they are all automated!!  We loved our day here so much.

Volcano Bay Tips & Tricks

If you go…

  • Download the Universal App and link a credit card to your account to use the TapuTapu payment system throughout the park.  I loved that I could set spending limits on it, particularly for John.  He stuck with us throughout the day, but it would have been great if we were in the park with friends and he was wandering a little free.
  • Bring your own towels or borrow them from your resort pool.  They are $5 each to rent.
  • If staying on-site, definitely take advantage of the extra hour for early park admission.  You can get a ton done!
  • The ride names are hard to remember so we called them KK Hopi – taking the first letter of each one’s name.  That sounds SO corny, but it worked.
  • If you finish early and have park-to-park tickets, consider going over to the regular parks and doing the water rides while you are already water logged.
  • Hang a colorful shirt up fro the inside slats of your umbrella at the beach so you can find your way back easier.  Don’t ask how I know this.

Volcano Bay Cabanas

Now, much to my dismay, the cabanas were sold out when we arrived.  I knew I should have pre-booked but I was waiting to see how we would fare with the weather.  (Anyone else remember how rainy Orlando was in May?!)  The cabanas are so cute and look like a wonderful place to call home base.  They are two stories and you choose either the top or bottom.  This is on my list for next time!

After an epic day at Volcano Bay!

I’m taking the review over to CityWalk tomorrow!

As a Gold Key Adviser with Glass Slipper Concierge, I offer concierge travel planning for family vacations.  I specialize in selling Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland, Adventures by Disney, Aulani, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and many other delightful destinations.
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